7 Things To Consider Before Going Platinum Blonde
May 14, 2015
I can pinpoint exactly when my obsession with the lightest of light locks started: 2002, right when Jason Isaacs made his debut as Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. There was something captivating about him (and not just because he was, well, Jason Isaacs); the way his hair looked both cool and regal all at once was something I couldn’t get out of my mind for years.
So naturally, I went blonde. And I don’t mean just a few highlights here and there–I mean platinum, darn near white blonde. And now that I’m nearing the tail end of my platinum journey (just one more round of toner!), I’ve discovered that there are an awful lot of things that I wish I knew before making the giant leap from brunette to silvery-white. With the help of Ted Gibson Color Director Kitty Nadel, here’s a list of things you need to consider prior to reaching for the bleach.
Be prepared to deal with damage. “The biggest misconception about going blonde is definitely that it’s super damaging and all your hair will fall out immediately,” Kitty explained. “I’m sure back in the Marilyn Monroe days that happened more, but now with newer technology in lighteners (and conditioners and masks for that matter) you can keep your hair looking pretty healthy.” Kitty’s one word of warning: make sure your expectations are realistic. It’s 100% necessary to factor in time and upkeep to maintain the integrity and health of your color.
Chat with a colorist first. Kitty always recommends a consultation with a well-regarded, experienced colorist about a week before you want the appointment so that you can determine the pricing, damage and how long the process will take. During this convo it’s also super important to be honest with your colorist: if you’re using box dye or had it chemically treated, don’t be ashamed. “All the secrets of your hair history past will be revealed during the lightening process and can impact your road to becoming platinum.”
Pro tip? Always ask for a strand test (“a few a few hairs usually from the lower back of your head lightened to see how it will lift”).
Start a platinum upkeep savings account. At Ted Gibson, application on virgin hair starts at $350 and touch-ups are $250. Kitty recommends returning every 3-10 weeks–any longer than 10 weeks and your hair becomes harder to work with. “Without getting too scientific, the heat from your head will lift the re-growth only to a certain distance away. If the root is too long you can either expect to pay more, stay longer at the salon, risk walking away with a yellow band and/or more damage,” Kitty says.
Be realistic about what your hair can handle. This is why it’s important to have that consultation: both you and your colorist can have realistic expectations of how long it’ll take. However, if you’ve dabbled with box dyes (or already have damaged hair), you have to be transparent with your colorist. “It’s not fun, but I’d rather keep the integrity of the hair than lighten her up, and have it be extremely damaged,” Kitty explains. “I have had to have clients stick with middle tone and wait a month for the hair to relax before we could get them to platinum, which is sometimes what has to happen to keep the integrity of the hair.” Basically, if you box-dyed your hair black or had an extreme color in the last two years, going platinum in one sitting is unlikely.
Clear your calendar for a day. If you go completely platinum blonde in a single sitting, be prepared to be at the salon all day. Here’s the step-by-step: lightening the mid-to-ends of the hair first, then the root. After the color is lifted, a gloss or toner is added to make the shade more compatible with the client’s skin tone. Kitty also likes to shadow the root because “it has a more natural,interesting appearance rather then bright roots solid look.” After the initial process, the touch-ups will be between two and a half to three hours.
Give your hair a break. “I tell all my platinum clients to be very gentle with it right after the process for the first week,” Kitty explains. “It’s gone through a process, it’s tired and needs to rest, so brush and comb it gently and nicely. And don’t tie your hair back as the hair can lose elasticity and by stretching it back in the first few days you can damage it further.” She also recommends not shampooing it for a few days after the process and not using high heat irons or dryers, as they can further damage the hair.
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